Get Involved

Whether you attend a Penn Wharton B-School for Public Policy seminar in-person, or you want access to the faculty expertise outside of the classroom, there are many ways to engage.

Faculty Meetings

If you are interested in speaking directly with one of the faculty experts, please contact Andrew Coopersmith, Managing Director of Penn Wharton PPI, to check on the professor’s availability.

Summaries

  • Joao Gomes, Howard Butcher III Professor of Finance

    The Decline in U.S. Corporate Investment

    Professor Joao GomesJune 1
    10 years after the financial crisis US corporate investment remains anemic. Is this weak recovery a symptom of a larger trend towards a less capital intensive economy? The answer can shed light on the impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 as well as any future infrastructure spending.infrastructure|Joao F. Gomes|left|tax
    View summary » U.S. corporations over the past decade have shied away from making large-scale capital investments. Given their reticence, does it make economic sense for the government to pursue major investments in infrastructure at this time?
  • Professor Cary Coglianese

    Achieving Regulatory Excellence

    Professor Cary CoglianeseFebruary 23

    This seminar, based on research conducted at the Penn Program on Regulation, focused on analyzing the impacts of regulation on the economy and promoting the attributes of a high-quality regulatory system. An emphasis was placed on the role of legislators in overseeing and supporting the achievement of regulatory excellence, situated within the context of ongoing efforts for regulatory reform as well as new imperatives, such as the development of algorithmic technologies.

    Cary Coglianese|left|podcast|regulation
    View summary » Regulatory excellence is governmental excellence. Three primary mechanisms exist for promoting regulatory success: Procedure, Management, and Technology.
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Tom Baker

    Regulating Robo-Advisors

    Professor Tom BakerOctober 20, 2017
    Financial “robo advisors”—automated services that rank, or match consumers to, financial products on a personalized basis, sometimes in addition to selling or providing educational information about these products—have gained significant attention in the investment industry. But there has not yet been a consensus on how to regulate them. Robo advisors have the potential to equal or exceed the quality of human advisors, but they don’t fit into the category of fiduciary, and therefore are not currently held to the same regulatory standard that humans advisors are. Nonetheless, they are subject to systemic risks and the potential for abuses that can hurt consumers. This seminar explored the regulatory challenges involved in fostering a market that promotes the development of more sophisticated robo advisor technology while also serving and protecting the heterogeneous interests of financial product consumers.finance|regulation|Tom Baker
    View summary » In general, a robo advisor can be defined as an automated service that ranks, or matches, consumers to financial products on a personalized basis, sometimes in addition to providing related services such as educating consumers and selling products to them.  Often associated with web-based financial investment services, a robo advisor can also include consumer financial product intermediaries such as automated mortgage brokers and insurance exchanges, as well as lead generation services such as Zillow, NerdWallet, and Mint.com. Although investment-focused robo advisors have received the most scrutiny from regulators, the same promises and regulatory concerns raised by investment robo advisors apply to their insurance and banking counterparts. The benefit of defining robo advisors as a general category of tools that span different financial services sectors is that an inclusive approach will encourage more cross-sharing and collaborative thinking to tackle similar challenges and opportunities, including regulatory questions.
  • Professor Peter Cappelli

    Investing in Human Capital: Who’s Responsible?

    Peter CappelliJuly 21, 2017
    This seminar, presented by Peter Cappelli, examined various aspects of workforce development: why employer investments in worker training have declined, including the role that tax treatments have played; wage trends; and the value of higher education for the American worker. Some attention also will be given to assessing the effect of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and other incentive programs.jobs|labor|left|Peter Cappelli|podcast|tax
    View summary »

    There has been much discussion in recent years about a skills gap in the U.S., driven largely by employer complaints over filling jobs. The term “skills gap” can mean different things. Usually, it refers to a belief that there is something fundamentally lacking in the labor force. In the typical telling of the skills gap story, schools are failing to educate students effectively and are graduating students who do not have the skills employers need, thus creating a basic skills shortfall in the labor force as a whole. Others who talk about a skills gap really are referring to a skills shortage, meaning that at the current market price for labor, employers cannot hire the people they are looking for. The third sense of a gap entails a skills mismatch, and describes parts of the U.S.—for instance, North Dakota, when energy production there skyrocketed—where labor demand is booming but where people in the region do not have matching job skills. A skills gap, skills shortage, and skills mismatch are all different and theoretically could be going on all at once.

  • Faculty at Wharton

    Insuring High Risks Fairly

    Professor Howard KunreutherJune 23, 2017

    The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) encompasses issues of risk transparency and fairness. There is general agreement that floodplain residents need to know their risk-based insurance premium–and with that information, how to make their homes safer and thus make flood insurance more affordable. This talk, by Professor Howard Kunreuther, focused on the importance of accurate mapping of flood risk, how to encourage investment in cost effective mitigation measures, and ways to deal with fairness and affordability in designing a flood insurance program for the future. 

    behavioral economics|Howard Kunreuther|insurance|podcast|right|risk management
    View summary »

    The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides federally administered flood insurance, is up for reauthorization in September. Since its inception in 1968, the NFIP has been amended several times. The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was written to address the insolvency of the NFIP by moving to a risk-based premium model for many homes in flood-prone areas, some of which were being charged a subsidized flood insurance premium. Implementation of Biggert-Waters was delayed, however, with the passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.  With the continued concern over the financial solvency of the NFIP, the reauthorization will need to address two core questions: (1) What does it mean to implement a risk- based premium? And (2) What does it mean to deal with issues of fairness and affordability?

  • Kevin Werbach

    Blockchain: The Rise of Trustless Trust?

    Professor Kevin WerbachMay 19, 2017

    At a time when public confidence in major societal institutions seems to be under siege, the blockchain offers an intriguing new paradigm for establishing trust in human transactions. The blockchain, through its use of secure cryptography and reliance on distributed consensus networks, is the basis for “trustless trust”—that is, it makes it possible for people to trust the output of the blockchain system without trusting any actor within it. The blockchain will need governance mechanisms, however, in order to realize its enormous potential. In this seminar, Professor Kevin Werbach discussed in detail how the respective roles of blockchain platforms and more traditional legal mechanisms can be made to work together.

    blockchain|Kevin Werbach|podcast|regulation|right
    View summary » Blockchain is a term that is used for a family of distributed ledger technologies (DLT). Although there is one virtual ledger, every participant in the network has a copy, allowing for local control of data and transparency while ensuring all ledgers remain in sync.

B-School Podcasts

  • Regulatory Responses to the Sharing Economy, Autonomous Vehicles, and Disruptive Innovation

    Technology-based companies such as Uber and Airbnb have disrupted more than just their business sectors. They’ve raised complicated questions about how they should be regulated and by whom. New research from Wharton could help decision-makers sort out the answers. Professor Light joined the Knowledge@Wharton radio show on SiriusXM to explain.
  • The Economics of Universal Basic Income

    The Alaska Permanent Fund has been issuing a cash transfer to every man, woman and child in Alaska since the early 1980s. The fund is provided through dividends invested from oil revenues, which is obviously a big part of that state. But can a similar Universal Basic Income program work across all of the US? And would providing such a program mean any change to working patterns in the United States?

  • The Role of Government in Fixing America’s Aging Infrastructure

    Infrastructure is one of the key issues on the American political agenda. How to finance and manage the rebuilding of America’s aging infrastructure was the topic of a B-School for public policy seminar. Professor Bob Inman provided an overview of the economic and political factors that influence the financing and management aspects as well as provided an analytical framework, highlighting the way in which economists, with their focus on efficiency, differ from engineers in analyzing infrastructure investments. To share his insights with a wider audience, Professor Inman joined the Knowledge@Wharton radio show, which airs on SiriusXM Channel 111, to discuss what it would take to finance improvements, and the role government should play.
  • Collecting State & Local Data for Informed Social Policy Making

    Dennis Culhane, Professor at the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, joins host Dan Loney to discuss his recent B-School Seminar presented to congressional staffers that focuses on helping staffers better understand how state and local evidence is gathered, which ultimately serves as a basis for forming federal social policy regulations. Dennis is also the Co-Principal Investigator for the Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy, and Director of Research, National Center for Homelessness Among Veterans.
  • Achieving Regulatory Excellence

    Much attention has been given to Donald Trump’s call for deregulation, a priority based on the notion that regulation impedes business growth. According to data from the Penn Wharton B-School for Public Policy seminar “Achieving Regulatory Excellence” by Professor Cary Coglianese, the number of cumulative pages in the code of Federal regulations has more than doubled from 75,000 to over 180,000 between 1975 and 2016. But regulatory excellence is more complicated than the raw number of regulations and needs to incorporate not only concern for the success of businesses, but also, and perhaps more importantly, the protection of citizens. Cary Coglianese, the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Political Science and Director of the Penn Program on Regulation has researched and written extensively on “Achieving Regulatory Excellence”. He joins Dan Loney, host of Knowledge@Wharton Radio to discuss the topic.
  • Regulating Robo-Advisors, Wharton Business Radio Interview

    With big data and automation becoming more common, so too has the “robo advisor”, any automated service that ranks or matches consumers to financial products on a personalized basis. Tom Baker, Professor of Law and Health Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, joins host Dan Loney of Knowledge@Wharton to discuss his recent B-School for Public Policy seminar about research he’s been doing on the regulation of robo-advisors, particularly within the financial services industry.
  • Insuring High Risks Fairly, Protecting Individuals Against Flood Losses

    As Congress looks at restructuring the National Flood Insurance Program — legislators must address the issue of fairness. Howard Kunreuther, Professor of Decision Sciences and Business Economics and Public Policy at the Wharton School, joins host Dan Loney on Knowledge@Wharton to discuss this important and timely topic.
  • US Workforce Development and Employer Tax Incentive Plans

    There has been much talk recently about a skills gap in the United States. Even though unemployment is in the low 4% territory, there are still many jobs that companies seemingly can’t fill because the people applying for them may not have the skills necessary. But it raises an interesting question: Who is actually responsible for taking care of that gap? Peter Cappelli, Director of the Center for Human Resources and Professor of Management at the Wharton School and Host of In the Workplace, joins host Dan Loney on Knowledge@Wharton.

  • Can Blockchain Truly Work? The Question May Be One of Trust

    Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach talks about the transformative potential of the blockchain, the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies such as the bitcoin. While the adoption of cyber-currencies is running into headwinds, the blockchain is finding more practical use across industries. Its nature as a distributed ledger in which transactions are transparent among parties creates a “new architecture of trust,” Werbach adds. One doesn’t have to trust another party in a blockchain to do a transaction even if there is no centralized authority, such as a bank or government, in charge.
  • Jennifer Blouin on US Tax Reform and Multinational Corporations

    Does the U.S. system of taxation potentially give foreign buyers of U.S. multinational businesses an unfair advantage? Jennifer Blouin, Professor of Accounting at the Wharton School, joins host Dan Loney on Knowledge@Wharton to discuss this important and timely topic.